FNB launches own mobile network

2015-06-04 15:21 - Gareth van Zyl
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FNB (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Johannesburg - First National Bank is set to become the first financial institution in South Africa to launch a mobile network when it starts selling SIM cards on June 15.

FNB Connect is launching a mobile virtual network operator on June 15 that will roam on Cell C’s infrastructure.

Ravesh Ramlakan, who is the chief executive officer of FNB Connect, told Fin24 on Thursday that the launch of the bank’s mobile network has been three years in the making.

The bank plans to sell 24-month voice, data and SMS contract deals as well as a “flexi” option that allows clients to customise their own contracts in terms of time periods and offerings.

FNB Connect is also promising up to 40% back in eBucks on total spend. This eBucks offering will be switched on as of July 1.

To date, 4 000 people have been testing the network, Ramlakan told Fin24. Customers of FNB Connect will be able to order SIM cars via the bank's online banking portal and even via branches and cellphone banking.

“The response has been quite positive... So now we’re ready to go to market and offer this to our customers,” Ramlakan told Fin24.

For its prepaid offerings, FNB Connect plans to charge R0.95 for voice calls per minute, R2 per megabyte and R0.50 per SMS.

UPDATE: The company is also selling 1GB data bundles on all plans for R145 and 2GB data bundles for R245.

Out of bundle costs on its contract offerings are expected to range from R1.50 per voice minute, R1 per megabyte and R0.50 per SMS.

Voice calls from the FNB banking app are set to be free to other users of the banking app. Calls using the banking app to other SA networks are also expected to cost R0.39.

The offering has taken three years to develop as it integrates with FNB’s online banking system, where the bank's customers are expected to buy SIM cards online and have them delivered to their doors.

Phones will be sold separately to give FNB customers choice in terms of how quickly they pay off their devices, Ramlakan told Fin24.

“So, I’m going to tell our customers: Thank you for banking with us, here’s more. I’m going to ask other customers who don’t bank with us, why aren’t you with us?” Ramlakan told Fin24.

“Yes, It’s retention number one - keep our existing customers happy - and number two is to win more customers,” Ramlakan said.

Would you consider taking up a mobile contract or prepaid phone product with FNB? Tell us your views by clicking here.

FNB Connect Pricing Guide

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